Spring has been a long time coming, so we’re all due for some excitement to shake away the Winter woes. With that in mind, consider taking in Canadian Music Week. CMW is a festival intent on entertaining, educating, and featuring music, comedy, and film, and along with both trade/award shows and a conference. Now in its 36th year, the week-long festival is a music lover’s delight. The Music Festival is held in about 35 venues in downtown Toronto and features talent from Canada, stretching shore to shore with international artists aplenty. With over 600 bands on the schedule, there’s something for everyone’s musical taste. Check out the schedule and see for yourself!
This year, the event runs from May 7th to 13th. Here are some to give consideration to if you want to get the best out of your bracelet. If you don’t have one yet, go here and get on it!
Wolves at Midnight (Tuesday, May 8th @ Horseshoe Tavern)
Wolves at Midnight are a rock band hailing from the Montreal area and have already established themselves as a band to watch even though the band was only born in 2015. They are playing as part of “Nu Music Night” at Horseshoe Tavern with no admission charge, proving some good things are indeed free.
Elliot Maginot (Wednesday, May 9th @ Supermarket)
While touring on his first album, Elliot Maginot has shared the stage with such talents as Coeur de Pirate, les Soeurs Boulay, Bobby Bazini, and Hey Rosetta! while not seeming out of place and leaving an impression on all who heard him. He is now preparing to release his follow-up album later this year. This is a great opportunity to get a sneak peak, or if you are not familiar with him to discover this talent.
The Redhill Valleys (Wednesday, May 9th @ Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon)
The Redhill Valleys are a country-and-roots rock band based out of Hamilton whose influences include iconic artists such as Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and The Band. While preparing for CMW last year, I remember noting them, but I missed seeing them due to a scheduling conflict. While looking through the artists playing this year, I am happy to see them back. They had a successful 2017, including being named runners-up in the 2017 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists Showcase. Check out their beautiful song “Parry Sound” above.
Kandle (Thursday, May 10th @ Horseshoe Tavern)
I last saw Kandle in 2014 in support of her album, In Flames. After a bit of a hiatus, she returns with a new song on which she collaborated with Peter Dreimanis of July Talk. She is also signed to a new label, so here’s hoping that a new album is forthcoming soon.
Wild Planes (Thursday, May 10th @ Cherry Cola’s)
If you’re making it a late night on Thursday, I strongly recommend you head over to Cherry Cola’s for Wild Planes at 2 am. Their energetic rock music will be exactly what you will need to keep the party going and your feet moving into the wee hours.
Lolo Zouaï (Monday, May 7th @ Drake Underground )
You may already be familiar with independent artist Lolo Zouaï. Her first single in late 2017, “High Highs to Low Lows” streamed heavily on Spotify. She also received the “Songwriters Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award”, and her second single “Blue” was recently released. Currently on her first tour with her inaugural EP in the works, say “oui” to this Parisian-born artist and start your week out right.
Haley Blais (Wednesday, May 9th @ Drake OneFifty Sessions)
A native of Vancouver, this West Coast indie-pop/folk artist brings a suitcase full of lyrical selections sure to please to the festival. In 2016, she released her debut EP Late Bloomer. From then to now, she’s acquired a five-piece band and a forward-looking focus that shows in this year’s EP, Let Yourself Go. Just as your day wraps up, get to the Drake post haste to catch her early set.
Psst… if you happen to miss her, then you have a second chance on May 12th @ Baby G.
Fabrizio Cammarata (Wednesday, May 9th @ Cameron House)
If you need a little mid-week diversion, seek out singer-songwriter Fabrizio Cammarata. Hailing from Palermo, Italy, his soulful voice and guitar finesse will transport you for a time and ease you over the mid-week hump. His 2017 album, Of Shadows, gives a glimpse of his life experiences that are sure to keep you transfixed. Why stay home when an eve of emotion awaits.
Century Thief (Tuesday, May 8th @ Nightowl)
Toronto’s own indie-rock band, Century Thief, cap off the eve at Nigthowl. The six-piece ensemble, who weave engaging vocal harmonies in oscillating instrumentation, debuted their first full length album, Reverie, in 2015. They’ve been gradually releasing singles off their upcoming EP, Deaf Beneath The Waves, with the third and final track “406” released last month. Yes it’s a Tuesday, and it may be your night in for laundry, but save the spin cycle for another day. It’ll be worth it, and nobody will remember you wore those pants already.
Yonatan Gat (Thursday, May 10th @ Sneaky Dee’s)
My first experience seeing Yonatan Gat was last summer at an Ottawa festival. After reading fellow Revue staff’s comments on why he should not be missed, I made a point of seeing him and he did not disappoint. I’ll quote Ben’s advisement as I think he said it best.
“If you do not know who Yonatan Gat is, make the effort to discover him tonight. The Israeli-born, New York City-based artist is just one of the greatest guitarists alive today. He is a machine. Afro-beat, jazz, blues, rock, psychedelic, free jazz, punk – you name it, he plays it.”
He may be your highlight of the festival – don’t take the risk of missing out.
See you at the shows!
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